Magazine article The Christian Century

Maine Is Fifth State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Magazine article The Christian Century

Maine Is Fifth State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Article excerpt

Governor John Baldacci signed legislation May 6 that makes Maine the fifth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriages, and only the second to approve the unions without the threat of a court order.

Maine now joins Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa in permitting same-sex marriage. Lawmakers in neighboring New Hampshire have also taken steps toward approving same-sex marriage, but Governor John Lynch has not said whether he will sign or veto the bill.

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea. of civil unions," said Baldacci, a Democrat and a Catholic. "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

Baldacci cautioned, however, that Maine voters could try to overturn the law with a ballot measure, similar to a high-stakes referendum that ended same-sex marriage in California last November.

"Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law," he said, "it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the state belongs to the people."

Maine's decision comes on the heels of an unprecedented tide of support for gay marriage, both in state capitols and among the general public. …

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